Olympics Committee: No promise to protect SL homeless, housing

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 6 Apr 1999 15:58:18 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  Associated Press - Monday, April  5, 1999


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Salt Lake Organizing Committee's new president
told a coalition of homeless advocates today he cannot promise housing that
could benefit low-income resident will be left after the 2002 Winter Games.

Mitt Romney spoke with Salt Lake Impact 2002 and Beyond at the American
Civil Liberties Union of Utah's downtown office.

He said the SLOC needs 22,000 rooms for 17 days during the Olympics and the
committee is still about 5,000 rooms short.

``We will not be building housing. We'll be hosting people for 17 days and
then they will be moving on,'' Romney said, adding that some hotels have
offered rooms and the University of Utah has offered its dormitories.

``If somehow, magically, housing units would fall from the sky, we'd grab
those too,'' he said.

The coalition he met with represents more than a dozen groups involved with
the state's poor, disabled and minority communities.

Those groups are concerned about a possible crackdown on the homeless
during the games, similar to actions taken during the 1996 Summer Olympics
in Atlanta.

Romney agreed with the group, saying ``people of all different economic
situations are living in our community and that's the way it should

He also said landlords should not expect to make extra cash by kicking out
their tenants and renting homes or condominiums to visitors who might pay
more during the games.

``I do not favor the idea of people being moved out of housing to bring in
visitors from out of town,'' he said. ``How to address that, I don't know.
I know that I can publicly say you're not making a good business decision.''


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